20 big-name Asian football transfer fails: 5 to 1

Asian football’s rise in recent years, partly fuelled by the big money that has been invested, has seen a plethora of big-name stars arrive to ply their trade in the continent.

There has been no shortage of success stories but, for every Didier Drogba, there is a Nicolas Anekla.

20 big-name Asian football transfer fails: 20 to 11

20 big-name Asian football transfer fails: 10 to 6

Today, FOX Sports Asia‘s list reaches its climax and conclusion as we enter the top five and count down all the way to No. 1.

We promise – you would definitely have heard of these guys before.

5) Caleb Folan (T-Team)

A familiar name from his time in the English Premier League, Caleb Folan arrived in Malaysia with a strong reputation and there was instantly high hopes that he would be a success at T-Team.

The well-built striker had previously played for Wigan and also scored the winner in Hull’s first-ever English top-flight match, and also had experience from the United States’ Major League Soccer with Colorado Rapids.

After showing promising signs in pre-season for the Terengganu-based outfit, things went downhill from there as he struggled to find his feet in the Super League.

Failing to score in ten appearances, Folan parted ways with T-Team by mutual consent in March 2013, just four months after his arrival.

4) Jermaine Pennant (Tampines Rovers)

The biggest name to have ever played in Singapore, Jermaine Pennant’s arrival was widely hailed as a masterstroke given his pedigree as a former Arsenal and Liverpool player, as well as his reputation as a player who would thrill audiences.

The former England Under-21 international certainly still had all his skills, netting a sublime freekick in a 1-1 draw against Home United early on in his time at Tampines Rovers that had fans excited at what he could go on to achieve.

Unfortunately, and not for the first time in his career, it was what his off-field behaviour that let him down.
There was plenty of talk that Pennant largely only mixed around with fellow foreign signings Jordan Webb and Billy Mehmet, and he never seemed to get along with the coaching staff now.

The attacking midfielder even suffered the ignominy of being dropped for the Stags’ biggest game of the season, barely making an impact coming off the bench as they lost the Singapore Cup final.

3) El Hadji Diouf (Sabah)

Wherever El Hadji Diouf goes, controversy is bound to follow but there was still hope that his obvious talent would be the main talking point after he signed for Malaysia Premier League side Sabah.

To be fair, his performances were decent and he definitely entertained at the Likas Stadium.

But his inability to get along with the team’s management proved to be the major issue.

He was branded ‘unprofessional’ after allegedly criticising conditions in Malaysia while, at the same time, expressing admiration for fellow Malaysian outfit Johor Darul Ta’zim.

Remarkably, since retiring, Diouf has worked for the Senegal government as a goodwill ambassador, something he did not exactly spread in his time as a player.

2) Carlos Tevez (Shanghai Shenhua)

The only player on this list who is still for the club in question, Carlos Tevez could prove us all wrong by going on to be a legend and Shanghai Shenhua.

Yet, we all know that is not going to happen.

He was meant to be the man to fire Shenhua to the top of the Chinese Super League.

Instead, he took his family to Disneyland when he was supposedly injured, apparently criticised the skill level of the local players, and then was said to have been banished to the reserves.

The club have since come out to dispute the authenticity of many of these claims, but the fact remains that Tevez has not remotely resembled a current Argentina international who has won three Premier League titles, two Serie A crowns and the UEFA Champions League.

As FOX Sports Asia’s John Duerden explains, some transfers just don’t work out and this has been one of them.

Perhaps it would be best for all parties to cut their losses when the season comes to a close shortly.

1) Carlton Cole (Persib Bandung)

And, finally, we reach No. 1.

Carlton Cole came through the ranks at Chelsea, spent nine seasons leading the West Ham attack, and has seven England caps to his name.

Yes, he was never the most prolific of strikers but excelled at his role as the focal point in attack at the highest level.

After signing for Persib Bandung at the start of this year, it would not have been unfair to expect that he would be putting opposition defences to the sword in the Indonesia Liga 1.

Don’t forget – Persib are one of the biggest clubs in the country and, apart from former Chelsea team-mate Michael Essien, he also had host of experienced Indonesian internationals supporting him.

Forget about disappointing in matches. His performances in training must have been woeful because he only started two of the five matches he played for Persib.

Within a few months, Cole was sacked and – amazingly – is now said be being considered by Premier League side Crystal Palace as the answer to their scoring woes.